Just like humans, dogs may lose mobility as they get older. What’s more, dogs of any age could potentially sustain an injury that affects their ability to get around. These situations can be difficult for pet owners but using a dog lift dog harness can improve your dog’s quality of life and your own life much easier.
Lift harnesses are not something that’s usually on a dog owner’s shopping list as they’re typically a one time purchase. So, if you’re keen to help your dog move around after an accident or now that they’re getting older, you may have considered buying a lift harness. I’d also imagine that you’re probably not familiar with what to look for, as again, this isn’t something most people buy very often.
But don’t worry; I’ve got you covered. In this guide, I’ll explain everything you need to know about lift dog harnesses and provide you with some tips on what to consider when buying.
Best Dog Lifting Harnesses At a Glance?
In a hurry? If so, below are my top picks for the best dog lifting harnesses and slings selected by the most popular feature.
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What Are Dog Lift Harnesses Used For?
A dog lift harness is a sling made from material that wraps around your dog’s body, providing
support from underneath. They are also fitted with a strap which allows the owner to lift the
dog as and when needed.
The idea isn’t to lift the dog entirely into the air but rather use the harness to alleviate some
of the weight off of your dog, allowing them no climb stairs, get into the car or generally just
These harnesses are designed for dogs that are struggling with mobility issues. This could
be related to old age where problems like hip dysplasia and arthritis can make getting
around very difficult. Mobility problems may also be related to an accident or injury and, in
this case, may only be temporary.
Where dogs are still semi-mobile, using a lift harness can improve your pet’s quality of life as
going for walks may still be an option.
Are There Different Types Of Dog Lift Harness?
There are four main types of dog lift harnesses and which you use will depend on your
pet’s unique needs.
Full Body Harness
Some full body harnesses provide support from the centre while others are designed to
provide support at both the front and rear. In any case, these harnesses are ideal for dogs
that require more gentle support.
One of the main benefits of this type of lift harness is that they allow the owner to more
safely lift their pet off of the ground.
Rear Lifting Harness
For dogs that have weakness or perhaps total paralysis in their hind legs, a rear lift harness
provides support from the back legs or underneath the belly.
These harnesses are a great choice for dogs who have sustained an injury or recently
undergone an operation. However, they’re also very commonly used for dogs with conditions
like hip dysplasia or degenerative myelopathy.
Front Lifting Harness
Where a rear harness provides support from the back, a front lifting harness provides
support for the front legs or from the chest. These provide a similar type of support to rear
lifting harnesses and are ideal for dogs that have an injury to the front legs or even a neck or
This type of harness allows the pet owner to physically lift and carry their dog which is great
if you need to move them quickly over a longer distance like to the car. Of course, you
should keep in mind that this type of harness might not be suitable if you have a very large
dog that cannot be lifted in this way.
Things To Consider When Choosing A Dog Lift Harness
Not all dog lift harnesses are made the same so it’s really important to consider a few things
when making a purchase. This will ensure that your dog not only gets the right level of
support but also feels comfortable and safe when wearing the harness.
Materials and Comfort
When wearing the harness, you want your dog to feel comfortable so it’s really important to
choose something that’s made from a breathable and non-irritating material like cotton.
I’d also strongly recommend choosing a harness whose materials are strong, especially if
you have a larger dog.
Size and Fit
Without the correct fit, your dog’s lift harness will not be comfortable and more importantly, it
won’t be safe. So, one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a harness is
You’ll find that manufacturers provide a size guide so be sure to take measurements of your
dog and compare them to this guide. If you have any questions, you can always contact the
manufacturer for more advice.
If the harness is too tight, that can cause discomfort for your dog and potentially choke it, if
the harness sits around the neck. On the other hand, something that’s too small increases
the risk of your dog slipping out. You also have to consider that some dogs will be naturally
resistant to wear the harness and a poor fit can exacerbate this anxiety.
As the user, you’ll also need to make sure that the harness is comfortable and easy to use.
This means looking for a harness that has an ergonomically designed strap and handle and
is made from materials that aren’t going to cut into your hand.
It’s always good to take a look at user reviews of the harness as this will allow you an insight
into how easy and comfortable it is.
Tips On Using Your Dog Lift Harness
As I have mentioned, some dogs may be resistant to wearing their harness and this is
completely normal. Something new can often be worrying for a dog because they don’t know
what’s going on. For this reason, some minor training may be required in order to get your
pet used to wearing their harness.
Before you attempt to put the harness on your dog, give him time to take a look at it. Allow
the dog to sniff it and explore so he can see that it’s nothing scary. Your dog’s personality
will depend on how much time he needs to get used to the new equipment so be patient and
give him as much time as he needs.
Once you feel that your pet is used to the look and smell of the harness, now try to get him
used to the feel and sound of it. You can touch the harness against your dog’s body without
actually putting it on and spend some time buckling it up so he gets accustomed to the
sounds it makes. Again, every dog will be different in terms of how quickly they adjust to the
When your dog is ready, you can now try to gently slip the harness on. Don’t try to rush the
situation and if your dog seems at all uneasy or upset, dial it back and give him some more
time. It may take several attempts before your dog allows you to fully put the harness on.
Keep in mind that dogs respond well to rewards so keep some treats on hand to offer when
he complies and don’t forget that verbal praise also goes a long way.
The Complete Guide To Using A Dog Lifting Harness/ Sling Video
For a visual representation into how best to use a lifting harness and sling to maximise your dog’s comfort and overall welfare, please see the video below.
Some dogs may begin to lose mobility as they get older or perhaps after surgery or an
accident. This can make it difficult for them to step up into the car or onto furniture, make
using stairs difficult and in the worst cases, walking in general can pose a challenge
However, using a dog lift harness can take some of the weight and strain off your pet,
allowing them to get about more easily.
It’s important to carefully choose a harness that suits your dog’s needs and is comfortable
with a good fit. Buying an incorrect harness could lead to a dangerous situation and make
your dog reluctant to use the harness.
Dog Lifting Harness / Slings FAQs
What is the purpose of a lifting harness/ sling?
A dog lifting harness is designed to assist dogs with mobility issues or injuries by providing support and stability during movement. It can also help prevent further injury by reducing the strain on the dog's joints and muscles.
Does my dog need a lifting harness?
Reasons your dog may require a lifting harness include: old age, arthritis, joint pain, post surgery, paralysis.
What types of dogs can benefit from using a lifting harness?
Dogs of all sizes and breeds can benefit from using a lifting harness, particularly those with mobility issues or injuries.
How do I choose the right size and type of dog lifting harness?
It's important to choose a lifting harness that fits your dog properly and provides the right amount of support. Look for a harness that is adjustable and always follow manufacturer instructions to ensure that the harness your purchase is suitable for your dogs size.
What material harness should I choose?
It is recommended to choose a lifting harness that is made of soft, durable, and supportive materials. This will not only provide thorough support for your dog's body weight but also ensure your dog's comfort, avoiding skin issues in the long term from repeated use.
How do I maintain my dog lifting harness?
Regular cleaning and inspection of the harness for signs of wear and tear is vital to ensure your dogs safety.
Being a 5th year Vet student and having a passion for improving the health and welfare of all animals, I am providing AblePaws.co.uk with a veterinary perspective / insight into the real word applications, including strengths and limitations of the products it reviews. This will allow you to make an informed decision as to the suitability of the pet products reviewed on the site to keep your pet mobile, comfortable and full of life!